“Our form of relaxing is taking on new projects for the house. It's not work for us — it's a true labor of love.”

At American Eagle Builders, we believe that home is where the heart is. That's why we've made it our mission to turn lackluster, decaying houses into beautiful, welcoming homes.

Homeowners all over the country are looking for ways to breath new life into their cozy yet outdated dwellings -- replacing drafty windows, installing new siding, remodeling the kitchen, deep cleaning carpets, and more. And for their home improvement inspiration, they each visit American Eagle Builders.

Common Heater and Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them Before Winter

clogged air filterAs a homeowner, the last thing you want to wake up to on a winter morning is a broken down furnace or heater. Most HVAC systems will not show any signs of a problem until winter sets in. This is mostly because the unit is forced to work twice as hard to keep your home comfortable. This is when most homeowners find themselves in trouble. No need to panic though! This article provide information on some of the most common problems most homeowners face with their HVAC systems during winter, and how to fix them.

Clogged Air Filters

One of the most common problems with HVAC systems is dirty or clogged filters. When this happens, air flow inside your system is reduced, forcing the unit to work harder when cleaning your air. Dirt and other debris inside your filters can easily damage your system’s limit switch, which in return, interferes with normal fan operation. Without timely action, this will increase energy bills and reduce the life of the unit. It is recommended that you replace your filters every 3 months to avoid this.

Mechanical Wear and Tear

Your furnace is made of many components, all working together to ensure that your home is comfortable at all times. Just like any other machine, your furnace will be subject to wear and tear, which will interfere with normal operations. If this is not treated early, it can lead to expensive repairs.

Investing in a more modern air conditioning system will reduce this threat. Modern systems make use of printed circuit boards, which means that there will be fewer components inside your unit. Modern systems are also energy efficient and will save you hundreds on energy bills, compared to older models which are more mechanical in nature.

Thermostat Malfunction

The thermostat is responsible for regulating the amount of heat produced by your heating system. When this device malfunctions, you’ll start to realize all sorts of problems. Check to see if the batteries are still working. If they are worn out, be sure to replace them with long lasting ones. If no heat is being produced, check thermostat settings and make sure that it’s set to Heat. If none of this is working, consult a professional HVAC company.

For a better experience with thermostats, invest in a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats will make it easy for you to regulate heat inside your home or office by simply setting when to increase or reduce heat. This will also help you save money on energy bills since your heating system will be turning off when no one is on the premises.

Blown Blower Motorsfurnace repair2

Blower motors are also subject to failure and will need repair by a professional. If your furnace is switched on but the fan is not moving, this should serve as an indication that the blower has stopped working. Seek help from a reputed air conditioning company to fix this problem.

Natural Gas Appliance Failure

If you are using natural gas as fuel for your HVAC system, make sure all the appliances are working properly. If there is a problem with any of them, contact a professional for assistance.

When to Call the Furnace Repair Man

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system should save you a lot of trouble. Scheduling maintenance tasks once or twice each year should protect you from most of the problems mentioned above.

However, there are times when the problem is too severe for DIY enthusiasts to handle. If the problem is too complicated for you to fix, find a reputable and local HVAC company for help, like this business that provides heating repair in Elkton, MD. This will not only protect you from injuries, but will also ensure that your system is repaired properly.

Do a background check on your service provider to ensure they are licensed to operate in your state. You could also compare quotes between different service providers in order to get better deals.

Home Decor for Your Little One’s Bedroom

childrens bedroomDecorating the bedroom of a preschool or day care-aged child is always a bit of a challenge, as the room will need to change and grow as the child continues to mature. Essentially, you will want to aim for a charming aesthetic that a little one won’t quickly outgrow.

It’s best to try and combine playful designs with comfortable furnishings when it comes to decorating a child’s bedroom.

Start out with a fun color palette that can easily transition to a more grown-up space as time passes. For example, if you have a little girl who adores all things pink, feel free to extend that theme to her bedroom — but instead of an “in your face” Pepto Bismol-tinged fuchsia, try a pale pink or classic coral hue. The same can be said for blue, as baby blues and eggshell paint color tend to work better. Also, don’t try to overdo it with the furniture. You’ve heard the saying “less is more” — right? The same goes for furnishings inside a child’s room. Clean lines, real wood, and simple designs are always best, as these pieces are typically the most flexible, and tend to hold up better (hey, kids are hard on things!) Quality items are always a great investment.

Another thing to keep in mind when decorating and purchasing furniture for a child’s room is the size of the bed. Many parents opt for a twin bed without considering the future. Sure, your little one may be three feet tall now, but thanks to a few guaranteed growth spurts down the road, your kid could quickly outgrow a twin-size bed. Again, it’s always best to buy quality items that can transition easily. In fact, it will save you money in the long run.

It is also important to remember that kids love to play and explore — and for that they’ll need plenty of room. Make sure you incorporate some space for playtime when planning out the room’s layout. This may mean investing more in creative storage ideas. This preschool in Fort Myers, FL, for example, incorporates colorful chests, book cases, and lowered shelves into their classrooms. These are great ways to keep toys, books, and games organized, but still within reach.

nautical decorAccessories are where you can really have fun. Since you’ll already have a soothing wall color and clean furniture lines, feel free to get creative with curtains, wall art, lamps, and other decorative accessories. It helps to involve your child as well, as they’ll feel an exciting level of ownership over the room.

Your kid wants lime green curtains? Go for it! Have a little boy who has a deep love of all things nautical? No problem — add a splash of bright blue, a funky fish lamp, and even an inexpensive plastic aquarium. If your little girl adores art, try framing her original pieces in brightly-colored frames on the wall above the bed. To round out the theme, add a framed chalkboard to the closet door for future masterpieces.

These items are typically on the inexpensive side, and can be easily replaced as kids age. Accessories are always a fun way to add personality and flair to a room without breaking the bank. That said, if you are super crafty try creating a set of funky, bright-colored curtains for the room or some fun throw pillows. Let your inner artist out. You may also try upcycling an old object for inclusion in a child’s bedroom. Have an old dresser or wooden rocker that has been sitting unused in the garage? Clean it up and paint it a bold color that compliments the room.

Creativity is truly the key when it comes to innovative decor. With a combination of clean lines, quality furniture, defined spaces — and a splash or two of color — you will be well on your way to creating a space your child will love and adore for years to come. We can’t, however, promise they’ll  keep it clean. Happy decorating!

Increasing the Value of Your Home

home value 2The process of selling a home can be long and daunting. However, there are things you can do to increase the value of your home and make it look more attractive to potential buyers.

Inspect It

There are home improvement projects that are not necessarily cosmetic in nature. For example, updating your electrical system, getting rid of termites, and fixing vulnerabilities in the roof will all help improve the integrity of your home without directly affecting its appearance. However, these items can’t be tended to if you don’t know there’s a problem to begin with. Hiring an inspector in this case is a smart choice. A home inspector will evaluate the home and gain access to areas that are not normally seen. Unseen problems that could potentially have a negative impact on your home’s value can then be uncovered. You’ll be aware of any possible hidden water leaks and other small problems that can quickly become huge and costly if a repair is delayed.

Consult with an Expert

Hire an interior designer, handyman, or realtor to take a look at your home and suggest areas for improvement. A number of realtors will make a courtesy visit; however, a professional interior designer might require a consultation fee. Other designers on the other hand, like this company that sells and installs granite countertops and cabinets in Richmond, offers free estimates and consultations for their clients.

In a relatively short period of time, you can get several home improvement ideas. Even ‘small’ recommendations like landscaping, furniture placement, or painting the walls in certain colors could go far in enhancing the look and feel of the property.

Seek Inspiration

Instead of hiring a professional for remodeling inspiration, you can simply watch home improvement shows, browse the internet, or look through books and magazines. Pinterest is a great website for finding inspiration and collecting home remodeling ideas. Simply print off, “pin,” or bookmark the ideas you like and create a list. This is a good way to save money, especially if you’re working with a tight budget.

Paint It

Painting is among some of the most cost-effective and simplest renovation projects. Freshly painted spaces offer a clean and updated look, which translates to increased value. When choosing paint, keep in mind that neutral colors have the greatest appeal and would make the home more desirable to a wider cross-section of potential buyers.

Cut Energy Costsenergy costs

Energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a remarkable selling point, since many of today’s prospective home buyers are concerned about their carbon footprint on the planet. Fortunately, many utility companies offer free energy audits. They will provide recommendations on how to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, which will ultimately reduce energy costs. Essentially, reducing the cost of energy will transform your home into a more marketable and valuable asset.

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Colorful plants and shrubs will undoubtedly add to the curb appeal of any property. However, when shopping for plants to enhance the landscape, thinking “green” should be an integral part of the strategy. Drought-tolerant plants, and those that are native to your locale, will require less maintenance and watering. This means more green in your yard, and more green in your pocket as well.

Improve Air Quality

Air quality isn’t all about what conditions are like outside. If your home has old carpets, for example, they could be harboring allergens and contaminants. The first step is determining if the carpets need to be replace by hiring a professional company to test the quality of your indoor air. If your carpets must be replaced, opt for laminate flooring, tiles, or other eco-friendly natural products instead. Hard-surface flooring is a lot easier to keep clean. It also gives your home an updated look and feel without holding odors and allergens. Generally, hard flooring is more appealing to prospective home buyers.

These are just a few of the remodeling ideas that you can use to enhance the look of your property and increase your home’s value. What ideas do you have for getting your home market-ready?

Improving Home Safety for Seniors

According to several studies, most of the elderly prefer living at home than at senior care facilities. However, living alone can be dangerous, especially for seniors who have difficulty walking as well as those under medication.

Falls in the home are reported to be one of the leading causes of serious injuries and even death. Fortunately, there are many home improvement tips and tricks you can use to minimize the risk of falling and improve safety in your or your loved one’s home.

senior home safetyIncrease Lighting

Because eyesight deteriorates with age, seniors are vulnerable to walking into or tripping over objects. Poorly-lit hallways, staircases, and rooms pose a threat to health. Adding more lights can help the elderly navigate the home safely at all hours of the day.

Because laving lights on through the night can increase energy costs, look for energy-efficient options. It is also advisable to install a backup power supply that can restore lighting during outages.

Declutter Space

Rugs, chests, vases and other decorative items can become hazards. You can either remove unnecessary objects from the home completely or reorganize them in such a way that they don’t obstruct pathways.

Be careful not to strip the home bare in an effort to improve safety. Search for specific home improvement ideas online to help you organize and store small, loose items away. If seniors are attached to certain objects, find creative ways to make them visible while keeping them out of the way.

Eliminate Obstructions

It’s easy to trip on cords and wires around the home. For seniors, tripping can result in a broken hip or worse. Create a safer environment by tucking away telephone and electrical cords. If medical equipment requires cords, be sure to wrap them up when the device is not in use.

Improve Grip

One of the best ways to improve home safety is to increase traction on crutches, canes, walkers, and shoes. You can add rubber tips onto walking sticks and rubber soles onto footwear. It will also be helpful to find nonskid carpets, rugs, and bathroom mats.

Level Ground

Another area in need of home improvement is uneven floors. If parts of the home are raised or uneven, speak to a contractor about possible solutions. Poorly-fitted or damaged carpet can also create an imbalance. Take a walk around the premises and note areas that may pose a threat.

Install Handles

Installing grab handles, rails, and bars around the home is an effective strategy for improving senior safety. Not only do they aid mobility, but they can also be used to break a fall. Make sure that these aids are firmly nailed or welded to walls, and maintained regularly.

Get Furniture

Another useful tip is to add furniture to rooms that pose the highest risk of falls. Bathrooms, for instance, usually have slippery floors. Bathtubs and showers are also potentially dangerous, especially when tiles are wet.

You can easily enhance the safety of senior by adding appropriate furniture. Chairs in the shower or kitchen can be used to restore balance for the physically challenged. Installing rubber strips and grab bars in bathtubs can also help.

Keep Items Within Reach

Reaching for items can sometimes cause dizziness and loss of balance, resulting in a fall. To provide effective home safety, find out which items seniors use often and try to make them more accessible.

It is advisable to keep food items on lower shelves as they are most likely to be used. You can also reorganize closets, cabinets, racks and shelves to optimize safety. Place frequently used items at eye level and keep a stepping stool close for hard-to-reach places.

Check Outdoors

Don’t forget to check the outside of the home regularly for plants, broken structures, or debris that could be hazardous. Keep porches and sidewalks clean of rocks and remove shrubs in the surrounding area. Also, consider adding sand to walkways that turn icy during the winter.

Finally make sure that there is a working alarm system and emergency contact list in the home at all times. Setting up lines of communication will help you respond faster in emergencies. Program emergency service numbers into cellphones for quick dialing in the event of a fall. You may even want to consider hiring an in home care service for some help around the house.

By making these small home improvement changes, you can make your loved one’s golden years safe, easier, and more comfortable.

How to Cut Home Cooling Costs During Summer

heating and cooling costs
According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling costs account for about 50% of the energy usage in the average American home. This means keeping your home cool in summer can push energy expenses even higher. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your home cooling costs. Here are some great tips on how to save on cooling costs during the summer:

Install a New Cooling Unit

If your HVAC unit is old (10 years or more), replace it with a modern and energy-efficient one. This will help cut energy costs by up to 50%, according to the DOE. In general, modern cooling units have better energy-efficiency ratios (EER) compared to older cooling unit. When purchasing a new AC unit, the DOE recommends selecting on with an Energy Star label. This label shows that a cooling unit complies with environmental and energy conservation standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

AC Repair

An AC unit that is not subject to regular maintenance is likely to be energy inefficient. For example, dirt will have clogged parts such as the filters, thereby inhibiting the system’s optimal performance. To ensure that this does not happen, your AC should undergo regular maintenance checks and repairs. The rule of thumb is to hire an air conditioning company, like the local Aire Serv of Abilene TX, to service your AC at least once every year. During servicing, AC technicians remove grime, replace worn out or damaged parts, tighten loose nuts and screws, as well as check for any signs of rust.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Purchase and install a programmable thermostat if you do not have one. Set it to cool your home whenever you are around and allow temperatures to rise when you are away. Data from the DOE shows that homeowners can cut cooling costs by 5-15% by using programmable thermostats to lower temperatures when necessary.

Install Fans

Install fans to circulate air indoors. The Alliance to Save Energy recommends installing ceiling fans to circulate air more efficiently. It is worth noting that fans do not lower room temperatures. They create wind chill effect by circulating air. As a result, evaporational cooling takes place lowering body heat. To improve air circulation indoors, the DOE recommends closing windows near fans and opening windows that are farther away from the fans. This allows one to raise the thermostat setting by 4°F without necessarily lowering indoor comfort levels. Remember to turn off ceilings when you exit a room.

Install Solar Screens  and Window Filmswindow film

Another effective way of reducing cooling costs in summer is installing solar screens. These prevent as much as 70% of solar energy from entering a building, according to John Krigger, owner of a company that offers energy conservation training in Montana. You should install solar screens on east or westward-facing windows to prevent solar energy from flooding indoors and raising room temperatures. Alternatively, install window films to reflect the sun’s heat before it gets into your home.

Surrounding Your Home with Trees

You can lower cooling costs by surrounding your home with trees. This strategy has two major advantages. Firstly, leafy trees will prevent direct sunlight and heat from entering your home via windows or roof openings. In addition, the DOE says tree shade could improve the efficiency of an AC unit by up to 10%. Nevertheless, you should only plant trees around your home if you live in a hurricane-free area.

Do Not Use the Oven

Avoid using the oven to bake, as doing so can significantly raise indoor temperatures. The DOE recommends using a microwave, stove, or outdoor grill to cook. It is worth noting that this does not necessarily mean you cannot use an oven at all. You should only avoid using it when temperatures are high (on hot days).


If your home cooling costs have been rising in the past, you do not have to put up with the same situation in the future. In fact, you can lower cooling expenses by replacing your old AC with an energy efficient one, never using an oven on hot days, installing solar screens or window films, installing and using fans, and installing a programmable thermostat.

Replacement Windows for Transparent Savings

replacing windowsA single, small window can cost a few hundred dollars. A large window might cost closer to a thousand dollars. Replacement windows for an entire house or business will require an investment in the thousands, but here’s the catch: you will save the money in the long run because your home will become more energy efficient.

How Replacement Windows Save You Money

The first savings you will enjoy come from lower energy costs. You can always turn down the level of heat or air conditioning in your home to save on energy, but if your old windows are letting in drafts, it unfortunately won’t mean very much.

Over time, the framing around your windows has probably shifted, expanded, and contracted. That draft you notice on particularly windy days will disappear if a competent window company handles the work, leveling, and re-framing as necessary.

Heat loss or drafts of cool air coming in through inefficient glass panes and cracks along the sides of old window will be vastly reduced when you remove your 30-year old windows and replace them with windows designed to meet more modern, energy-efficient standards. No honest window company can promise 100% energy efficiency, but they definitely don’t make windows as poorly as they used to.

Reducing drafts will also help keep out moisture and prevent condensation — meaning you won’t have to spend as much time and money trying to tackle potentially dangerous mildew and mold growth in your home. Your home will be drier so you won’t have to run a dehumidifier, and your family may even notice an improvement in asthma-related issues.

By reducing the amount of air that enters into your home or leaks outside, you’ll notice that your monthly energy bills will be considerably lower. And within a few years, it’s possible to even make back your replacement windows investment. As your local government may offer tax rebates on energy efficient home improvements, keep your receipt.

Investing in Your Windows

When you hire a Dayton replacement windows company to install new windows, frames, or doors in your home, that money goes right back into your home equity. If you ever decide to sell your home, it will be worth more — even if only for having beautiful, energy-efficient windows. A house with modern, efficient windows is also quieter and more comfortable.

Gas and electricity aren’t getting any cheaper — so don’t overlook the fact that new windows offer both aesthetic and practical benefits to yourself and potential home buyers as well.

Money-Efficient Windows

Saving some money on homeowners insurance is another benefit of installing replacement windows. Insurance agencies will cut the cost of your annual insurance if windows are relatively new and comply with contemporary standards. There are several reasons for this. One is that they are less likely to let in excess moisture which could cause damage you might claim insurance coverage for. The same goes for windows blown in during a storm: sturdier windows are safer and, once more, you are less likely to make a claim. A modern window is also designed to risk break-in, which makes you even less of a risk. The very fact that you just reduced your vulnerability on so many levels inspires insurance companies to reward you for good behavior and practices.

Hiring a Qualified Team

The important thing to note is that you benefit from replacement windows if the job is done right. Don’t hire just anyone — go to a licensed, bonded, experienced company with all the skills and products to make your home a more comfortable and attractive place to live. Be sure to check their credentials before perusing prices or asking for an estimate.

Imagine this: your house will not just maintain a comfortable temperature without needlessly eating up electricity and gas; it will also look cleaner, newer, and more appealing. If you have wanted to move into a newer place before, you will now be inspired to improve other aspects of your home instead. This is not just essential to potential home buyers, as homeowners should feel good about the space they live in. Create a home or business environment where you can feel at ease — not worried about the next bill or your next round of mold cleaning.

Beautiful and Durable Fiber Cement Siding

fiber cement siding 2Since the 1950s, homeowners have been covering their home exteriors with vinyl siding. This type of material has a number of advantages. The vinyl is simple to install, and simulates wooden clapboard — thus adding an attractive and traditional finish to the building. Vinyl siding is also durable and resistant do damage by insects, and so requires minimal maintenance. The material is colored during the manufacturing process, and many attractive shades of vinyl are available, from pure white to pale and pastel colors, to deeper reds and blues. More recently, chemicals have been added to help preserve these colors, thereby saving the homeowner from the labor of annual house painting.

Vinyl siding is installed with its own fastening or locking system. This involves attaching the boards loosely to the house walls with nails or pegs that are provided by the manufacturer, before finally locking them into place. This locking system usually has a degree of flexibility built in, because the thinner grades of vinyl — known as “builder’s grade” — are prone to cracking in very cold weather. The vinyl material is also prone to fire damage and when smoldering, can emit hydrogen chloride and other toxic gases.

Fiber cement siding has been in use for over 100 years and poses an environmentally-friendly alternative to vinyl siding. Composed of a mixture of cellulose fiber, sand, and cement, this type of siding can be shingled onto homes and other buildings to give an attractive clapboard finish. Hardie Plank is an example of fiber cement siding. The Hardie Plank boards are colored and stamped with wood-grain patterning during manufacture, and have all the qualities of fiber cement boards. Even though the fiber cement material is colored, the homeowner has the option of repainting. It is resistant to all kinds of weather and will never rot, even when it gets very wet. This quality makes it suitable even for extremely humid climates. It is also resistant to pest damage and unlike vinyl, fiber cement is flame resistant. Additionally, fiber cement boards are suitable for indoor use, for example, as the underlay of bathroom floors.

fiber cement siding 3Prior to installation, the homeowner should be aware of a number of factors. Fiber cement boards are produced in widths varying between 5″ and 12″, and vary in density according to the mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose fiber. Generally, the denser and thicker the board, the better it is at insulating and soundproofing your home. This quality makes the thicker boards suitable for exterior use. Each siding board must be measured carefully and cut to size, and requires the use of a saw with a masonry blade. It’s advisable to wear eye masks while sawing, and ear protection while drilling. Once the boards are cut, it’s a good idea to paint them the preferred color before the actual installation. Care must be taken to ensure that the color runs evenly over all boards, and it’s also smart to use weatherproof paint.

The final exterior installation requires the work of a siding specialist, or at least one skilled person on the team of installers. Blue Ridge Exteriors in Richmond VA is a great example of a local business that specializes in installing fiber cement siding. The boards are heavy and liable to break if dropped, and must be held in place by at least two people. The end joints are caulked with material supplied by the manufacturer. To prevent water damage to the building, metal flashing is required behind the overlapping seams. When the building is covered with fiber cement siding, the exterior is ready for ornamentation. Homeowners can now add vertical battens, wooden windows, and door frames. These additions can be painted in contrasting colors to the walls, but many homeowners like to paint them the same color.

The initial cost of installing fiber cement siding may deter some homeowners. However, the nature of the material gives the homeowner more control over the final effect. Overall, fiber cement siding is more appealing, more durable, and safer than the use of vinyl siding.